Years ago, when I was in the throws of my hiking life as an employee in Rocky Mountain National Park, I spent every day off doing one of the many hikes the park had to offer.
At the start of every hike was a a sign exclaiming various truths about the mountain.
One truth was that a bobcat might eat you. My friend Dave always assured us that if he sang Neil Diamond’s “Kentucky Woman” at the top of his lungs, he’d keep any mountain lions at bay.
After hearing him sing, I agreed.
But the other truth proffered on every sign was that, quite simply, the mountain didn’t care.
You needed to get off of the mountain before the storms rolled in every afternoon.
The mountain didn’t care about your opinions, feelings or excuses. It didn't care if you started your hike late, as I did one afternoon, that you'd have to squat on one leg above tree-line to avoid the lightening strikes. Which was REALLYREALLYHARD.
You could offer all of the excuses you want, but the bottom line on the mountain stayed the same -storms would roll in above treeline in the afternoon because the mountain didn’t care.
And you know what? Fitness is no different.
You can’t buy fitness. You can’t steal results. You can’t fake effort and still get results. As much as I try to send out a message of kindness and compassion, I find this situation to be a case of both/and.
I want you to treat yourself with kindness and compassion and to be patient with your body, your mind and your efforts. But I want you to put forth the effort. Because if you don’t - fitness doesn’t care.
You absolutely, unequivocally, no bones about it, have to give something to get something. You have to. You have to show up and do the work. You either do the work or you don’t.
And if you are struggling to get results, are you being honest with yourself about your efforts?
I completely embrace your efforts to do the best that you can. I will cheer-lead you all day if you are doing a little more today than yesterday. I will be jumping up and down in your corner as you make the small changes, week by week, as you move towards your ultimate goals.
In the past five weeks, I’ve been doing my fair share of running, returning to the fitness routine that got me through my twenties and half of my thirties. And as I chugged my way up a hill today, I was reminded of an interview I saw years ago with Lance Armstrong, prior to his admission of drug use, where he talked about embracing the discomfort.
The only way to even participate in the Tour de France is to embrace the pain and discomfort that came with the ride.
I don’t want to be a Debbie Downer - but let’s face it, if you really want results, you need to expect some struggle.
You have to, in the words of my former college lacrosse teammate Sandy, embrace the suck.
Because fitness doesn't care.
And I mean that in the nicest way possible...